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Delivery systems look promising (if a little unlikely) while a banking system looks terrible

5th December 2013


Monsieur Barr is away again this week so it’s Lloyd here looking to walk the gauntlet of good and bad PR once more. Lucky you! Follow me @lloydhughes13 if you like a bit of mundane tweeting.

Good PR of the week

Cyber Monday is one of the biggest retail days of the year, so those in the trade will have been falling over themselves trying to get their name bandied about in the media in a positive light.

Amazon triumphed in these stakes, as the heavyweight retail bruiser pushed itself to the top of the Christmas trading press tree by announcing that it planned to deliver parcels by drones in the not too distant future. Kudos to Amazon. This story was everywhere in the press.

I tend to use Amazon as a retail version of Google when shopping online, reasoning that anything worth buying will probably be on there. Call me small-minded, but that’s exactly what Amazon would want. And what better way to get indecisive online shoppers to think “ah Amazon” then having the brand name all over the news on the busiest shopping day of the year? PR high five!

Amazon said that the drones delivery could be implemented by 2018, which is quite frankly nonsense in my very humble opinion bearing in mind the obstacles it would have to get through, but who cares? The story is out there and so is the Amazon brand.

In other good PR news, but essentially the same story, Waterstones jumped on the back of this magnificently. With an incredible turnaround speed the bookseller announced its Ornithological Waterstones Landing Service; or OWLS for short. A video from its press manager (Jon Owls funnily enough) explained the Waterstones’ thinking behind it.

My favourite line of the whole thing being “It’s some years off as owls take ages to learn anything and we only thought of it this morning“. Glorious mockery.

Check out the brilliant Q and A on the Waterstones’ blog.

Bad PR of the week

While Amazon and Waterstones were having a PR ball, RBS Group had a meltdown of epic proportions over the same period. With my finger on the pulse as always I swiftly became aware of the situation … by having my Natwest card declined while trying to pay off a parking ticket from the weekend.

After a momentary panic, with thoughts along the lines of “What did I spend on my card on Saturday night?” I soon turned to Twitter for the answer, which revealed that I wasn’t alone in this. Phew!

A banking glitch meant that customers were unable to pay for transactions with their credit or debit cards for around three hours from 6.30pm. While I was able to make my payment the next day, it probably wasn’t as simple for many others. So not only were plenty of customers frustrated and angry if Twitter was anything to go by, but the ensuing media coverage wasn’t exactly encouraging for people looking at the potential of banking with the group either.

RBS has pledged to repay customers left out of pocket by the festive fiasco (I’m tempted to blag my parking fine) but I doubt it will do too much to appease people left in an embarrassing position at the checkout or missing out on Cyber Monday deals.

A costly error for the bailed-out bank and one that follows a similar situation in March. Bad PR for RBS and yet more bad PR for banking in general.

Got anything good or bad that you want to share? [email protected] or @10yetis on Twitter



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